The past 2 months have been the scariest time of my life! The unknowns of walking with my hubby who faced a breakdown for major stress. What is called so much now hit by many, many folks? Yep…mental health. What we faced was much more than just depression. It was a chronic mental state I have NEVER witnessed before let alone watching someone I love so deeply be affected by simply believing in lies and allowing the spiral effect that led to his breakdown.
He Guided Me
“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” Ishaiah 42:16. Holding onto this verse over and over as our adult kids and I waited patiently for the Lord to heal our loved one. Many days of darkness just scared us to the core of what we were seeing and hearing from him. His
Talk about unfamiliar territory…we were in the middle of it!
Mental health is scary because of the stigma I held in my own head. What I saw in movies, or read in other stories, or even the many I have ministered to in the past. I never really took the time to understand why the brain reacts to trauma, how it happens, and the symptoms that appear because of the trauma. When someone is stressed for a long period of time and not dealing with it by taking time to truly rest-stress symptoms will appear. Warning signs really. For my hubby it was more tired, short-tempered, anxiousness over small things, overthinking small things, little eye contact, not really listening, not doing the FUN things once done before, never taking time to “take a break”, and many more. Becoming familiar with symptoms or signs of depression and anxiety would have helped me be more in tune to him needing help sooner.
Smoothin’ out the road
YES, the Lord smoothed out the road! HOW? With many who came alongside us and helped. First, we learned what he was facing was ok. One therapist stated it’s ok to not be ok. Next, support therapist, support groups in our area, books like Turning Toward Joy, this was huge for us to find joy again. Learning from the Giants wonderful book by John Maxwell. And another one good for Dan was Experiencing God’s Forgiveness. If you have a loved one who has gone through abuse, addiction, divorce, or the many other life issues and has had difficulty forgiving someone especially themselves, this book is great!
Most of all…the Bible! Being in HIS word has saved us both and our marriage. If you are the caregiver as I was, reading your bible and daily devotional time with Jesus is a must. Studies have shown caregivers can fall into a depressive state themselves and must keep healthy with eating right, daily exercise and keeping close to their Jesus!
We also sought out natural ways to begin healing the brain. Fight the moods, anxiety, and of course the joint pain that comes from being on meds. Being on meds helped to stabilize his brain to get back into balance. But along with that, we are doing supplements especially CBD oil. Interesting about this oil, Dan was taking it during the winter months and we ran out. Within a month from not taking it his mood became more unstable deeper depression set in. I believe now this is ONE factor of Dan spiraling downward. He is now back on it! In time, we hope to eliminate the meds as they have many side effects where natural supplements do not. This CBD oil is one we both will stay on. It helps with joint pain as well as mood. Be proactive if you are facing the road of depression or know you may head into a season like a winter. Taking some of these has made a world of difference. For me as well because with this trial I learned I need to take care of myself as well in the area of mental health.
Here are some I found out from Jonathan Otto’s series on depression. Wonderful experts who have seminars on the very issues we faced.
Anti-inflammatory supplement so important to take daily, Glucosamine with Chondroitin Turmeric.
And from Global Healing, Lithium Orotate
Also daily probiotic, Omegas, and multivitamin (we take Plexus)
For immune boosting, I made capsules of Astragalus Root Powder
Spring has sprung so capsules of Spirulina Powder too
Lastly, because this is an amazing herb for health, Ashwagandha Root Powder. Read here about its health benefits…Amazing brain health!
Connect with natural healing doctors in this area as they can best help you and your situation. Everyone is so different it is always best to consult with your own resources in the medical field and natural medicine.
Hope in the Unfamiliar
Hope is on the way. One of my favorite songs and so true. The Lord will lead you. He will show HIS pathway to better health and out of the darkness that floods our world in the area of mental health. He has all the answers! Seek HIM…be in the Word daily, ask for prayer warriors as days can be hard for you to think, and most of all know, you are loved by a Mighty Savior who sees YOU and knows what you are facing. HOPE is on the way. He made a promise…He will do these things and not forsake you! Amen to that mental health!
Do’s and Don’t
As of today as I update this blog, Dan is doing 100% better! PRAISE THE LORD! What did…many things. Combining consistency of therapy, meds, sleep, eating well, doing things he always loved (ranch and working with his hands), and forgiving the past and himself!
But I do have something I want to share as I walked this trail I should not have done and things I know to do…hope this helps with anyone facing this trial.
- Pray daily together
- Do a devotional together and as a family
- Let them know their family wants them to get well
- Listen, and give credibility to their feelings
- Seek help for yourself and offer to attend the therapist together
- Go for walks, get exercise, go for a bike ride, do things together
- IMPORTANT make sure you have Power of Attorney as you may need to be soul guardian if they fall deep enough they can’t take care of themselve
- Tell them to pray about it and or say healing will come if you trust God more
- Make them feel guilty for the impact this is on the family
- Blame or criticizing
- Expect meds to solve everything or the other way around; not do meds because of certain stigmas or beliefs
- Let them continue in a pattern of sleeping or wanting to be alone
Lastly let me share Dan’s months of depression started three years ago. The stress of his job increased so much in the last year it led to him falling very hard very fast into a spiral of believing many lies from the enemy. After Dan sold his business he still was facing many days of doubt and his mind at this point had spun out of control. His mind had new games. He may not have the job anymore, but he still hadn’t dealt with the “new” life either. He began this journey of deep depression in early March. It is June now and he is back to his old self, PLUS realizing how deeply out of control he was from simply never taking time to rest. I hope he will have the courage to speak to audiences about his journey and be an encourager for all who face this giant of mental health. He is one happy man now, FREE indeed! We pray others will too.
Peace to you,
Love deeper, talk sweeter, and KEEP IN THE WORD